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Building Bio-Reactors

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Building Bio-Reactors Goals To demonstrate the importance composting has on the environment and us through hands on experiments. To determine best methods of composting. [top] Objectives * Students will be able to describe the process of composting. * Students will be able to design and construct their own pop bottle bio-reactors. [top] Materials (per group) * 2-liter pop bottle * 750 g yogurt container * Styrofoam plate or tray * Nail for making holes * Duct tape or clear packaging tape * Wooden skewers * Insulation materials such as sheets of fibreglass or foam rubber, or Styrofoam * Fine-meshed screen to cover top of soda bottle and air holes in bottom half * Thermometer that will be long enough to reach down into the centre of the compost * Chopped vegetable scraps such as lettuce leaves, carrot or potato peelings, and apple cores, or garden wastes such as weeds or grass clippings * Bulking agent such as wood shavings or 1-2 cm pieces of paper egg cartons, cardboard, or wood * Optional: hollow tubing to provide ventilation * Utility knife [top] Lesson Summary Class length one hour. ...read more.


* FOOD - A good mix of browns and greens is the best nutritional balance for the microbes. Browns are dry and dead plant materials such as straw, dry brown weeds, autumn leaves, and wood chips or sawdust. These items are a source of energy for the compost microbes. Greens are fresh (and often green) plant materials such as green weeds from the garden, kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps, green leaves, coffee grounds and tea bags, fresh horse manure, etc. These can be thought of as a protein source for the billions of multiplying microbes. [top] How to build the bio-reactor **Depending on the age of the students or the time slotted for the class, the cutting can be done before hand. ** 1. Using a utility knife or sharp-pointed scissors cut the top off the pop bottle just below the shoulder and cut the yogurt container approximately 3 - 5 inches from the top. By placing the top part of the yogurt container over the shoulder of the pop bottle, the top of the pop bottle will fit snugly onto the container. ...read more.


5. Put the top piece of the soda bottle back on and seal it in place with tape. 6. Cover the top hole with a piece of nylon stocking rubber banded into place. Alternatively, if you are worried about potential odours you can ventilate your bioreactor using rubber tubing out the top. Simply use the screw-on soda bottle cover with a hole drilled through it for a piece of rubber tubing, which leads out the window. 7. If you want to eliminate the possibility of flies becoming a problem, you can cover all air holes with a piece of nylon stocking or other fine-meshed fabric. 8. Insulate the bioreactor by wrapping it in aluminium foil, shiny side in, and then rubber foam. Make sure not to block the ventilation holes. (Because these pop bottle bioreactors are much smaller than the typical compost pile, they will work best if insulated to retain the heat that is generated during decomposition.) 9. Record the initial temperature of each bioreactor and then take a reading after a couple of days. Chart the data to see if there is an increase in temperature. http://webster.acadiau.ca/conted/Outreach/resource/lessons/bioreact.html ...read more.

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